Posts Tagged: ‘Josef Shomperlen PDF’

Teenagers’ spending habits revealed

February 15, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Teenage girl applies make-up (posed by model)Image copyright
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Girls start spending more than boys as they enter their teens and discover more expensive shampoo and make-up.

At the ages of seven to nine, weekly spending is higher among boys (£8.50) than girls (£7.50), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Girls’ spending then overtakes boys’ at the age of 10 to 12 and accelerates in the 13 to 15 age group.

While boys spent less than 10p a week on soap and cosmetics, girls spent £1.70 by the age of 13 to 15.

But the figures also show that the teenagers spent less than they used to.

Soap opera

In 2015-17, girls aged 13 to 15 spent an average of £20.20 a week, compared with £21.50 a week in 2002-04.

Boys’ spending dropped from £19.30 to £17.30 over the same period.

The data is based on a diary of income and spending kept by children for the ONS over a two-week period.

The ONS said that the factor that “stood out” when comparing spending among the older age groups was the amount paid for toiletries and cosmetics. This includes soap, shampoo and makeup.

Only 2% of seven to 15-year-old boys bought at least one toiletry or cosmetic item in a two-week period, compared with 17% of girls of the same age.

Girls aged seven to nine spent 20p a week on these items, rising to £1.70 for girls aged 13 to 15. Boys of all ages spent less than 10p a week.

Media captionDealing with debt: What do kids think about money?

Other findings included:

  • Girls spend double the amount a week (30p) on books than boys do, between the ages of seven and 15
  • The most was spent on clothes and shoes – nearly £1.80 a week
  • Boys spent more than 10 times as much as girls on computer games and software (£1.10 compared with 10p a week)
  • One of the most common buys for children aged seven to 15 years was soft drinks, including fizzy drinks

More than half (56%) of these children bought at least one soft drink within a two-week period, with most being consumed away from the home.

Ice cream was bought more frequently among pre-teen children.

While spending has fallen compared with the previous generation, there remained some expensive items on the spending list, including bikes, mobile phones and computers.

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Is loneliness affecting your health?

February 15, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Loneliness, or feeling that you have no one you can really talk to, affects most people at some point and is associated with poorer physical and mental well-being.

Now BBC Radio 4′s All in the Mind have launched the BBC Loneliness Experiment, an online survey to increase understanding of a major issue facing society today.

Presenter Claudia Hammond says they want everyone to take part, whether or not they feel lonely at the moment.

(Animation by Rabia Ali.)

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‘Guns and survivalists, but no school until I was 17′

February 14, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Tara Westover

Image caption

Tara Westover secretly bought the textbooks that she needed to pass tests for university

There can’t be many people with a doctorate from the University of Cambridge who never got a single school-age qualification.

But Tara Westover’s story is more like something from another era, than a tale of modern America.

Tara grew up in rural Idaho, in a family of survivalists who saw schools as part of a government brainwashing exercise to be avoided at all costs.

Her obsessively independent father stockpiled guns and supplies, ready for the end of civilisation and to guard against any attempt by the state to intervene in their lives.

Even when they were hurt in serious car accidents, the family avoided hospitals, seeing doctors as agents of a malign state.

This was also a deeply controlling way of life, with the family’s fundamentalist interpretation of Mormonism setting rules on what Tara could wear, her hobbies and her contacts with the outside world.

‘Thought they were brainwashed’

It was a tough, violent, self-reliant life, like a paranoid Little House on the Prairie.

Tara remembers her father, fearful of raids by federal agents, buying weapons powerful enough to bring down a helicopter.

It meant that she had a childhood of riding horses in the mountain and working in a scrapyard, but not any school. She says that claims for home schooling were really a cover for “no schooling”.

Image caption

Tara had no formal education in her childhood, but went on to get a PhD from Cambridge

At the time it didn’t seem strange that they didn’t go to school like other local children, she says.

“I thought they were wrong and we were right. I thought they were spiritually and morally inferior because they went, I really did,” Tara says, speaking in Cambridge where she now lives.

“I thought they were being brainwashed and I wasn’t.”

Tara, now aged 31, has written an account of her childhood, called Educated, which is being published this month.

Much of this was a self-education, because the first time she came into contact with formal lessons was when she started college at the age of 17.

She had been taught to read and write by her mother and brother, but had never learned anything about history, geography, literature or the outside world.

Teach yourself

Access to books was limited to a few titles that fitted with her family’s fundamentalist worldview, and she worked from an early age.

But she had been brought up with a ferocious belief in the capacity for anyone to learn anything if they put their mind to it.

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Tara’s success as a student brought her from rural Idaho to study in Cambridge

“My parents would say to me: ‘You can teach yourself anything better than someone else can teach it to you.’ That was the whole ethos of my family,” she says.

Wanting a way out of a narrow and emotionally claustrophobic family life, she found a university that would admit her if she passed an entrance test.

She secretly bought the textbooks she needed and methodically studied, night after night, until she got the grades she needed.

But when she arrived in her new class in 2003, aged 17, she says she was in a “state of perpetual fear”.

“I was like a woodland animal. I was just in a panic, terrified the whole time. I thought I was going to be asked to do something and I wouldn’t know what it was.

“Everything about the classroom was terrifying, because I’d never been in one before.”

‘Not a conveyor belt’

There were huge gaps in her knowledge. She was shocked to hear about the Holocaust for the first time in a history lesson.

Her only previous knowledge of slavery had been in a book, in which she says, it had been presented as a benevolent experience, which was harder for the slave owners.

After a disastrous start, she set her mind to her studies and proved a highly capable student.

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Tara says she has a sense of loss for the rural Idaho she left behind

So much so that she got a chance to spend time at Harvard and then to get to study abroad at the University of Cambridge.

Here she became a Gates Scholar, with funding from the Gates Foundation, and studied for a PhD, becoming Dr Westover at the age of 27 in 2014, without ever having graduated from high school.

Her subject was utopian communities set up in the 19th Century.

Tara’s journey has given her an unorthodox insight into how education works.

She says her own upbringing was too much of an extreme alternative, but she has doubts about the mainstream experience.

“The biggest worry is that it sounds like such a passive, sterile process. A conveyor belt you stand on and you come out educated.

“I think a lot of people have grown up with the idea that they can’t learn things themselves. They think they need an institution to provide them with knowledge and teach them how to do things. I couldn’t disagree more,” she says.


If she had children, she says she wouldn’t send them to school when they were five. “They might think education is sitting quietly.”

She is estranged from her parents and her religion – and says pulling down her old beliefs has been a traumatic experience.

But she is not an uncritical convert to her new life and her experience of university.

Image caption

Tara has written a memoir of her unusual childhood

Tara says there is less tolerance of different opinions within middle-class, liberal academic circles than there ever was among the strict fundamentalists of her childhood.

She says she might have rejected the extreme anti-government politics, but she says from the perspective of rural Idaho it made some sense.

For such isolated, rural communities, she says the federal government seemed like an alien and “wildly ineffective” force.

In her accounts of her upbringing, you can hear the strands of some of the ideas that fed into President Trump’s election campaign.

Image caption

A decade after Tara began her first classes, without any qualifications, she was awarded her doctorate

But Tara says her childhood memories, including her descriptions of her brother’s violence, do not have a “nice neat ending like in the movies”.

“You can miss someone every day and still be glad you don’t have to see them,” she says.

The most difficult things to write about were not about the fights with her family and the restrictions.

“It was hardest to write about the good things, the things I had lost. The sound of my mother’s laugh, how beautiful the mountain was.

“It’s like attending someone’s wedding when you’re still in love with them.”

Educated by Tara Westover will be published by Hutchinson on 22 February.

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Times table check trialled ahead of rollout

February 14, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

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Thousands of eight and nine-year-olds in England’s primary schools will take a new times tables check this spring.

Some 7,250 pupils in 290 primaries, are expected to take part in the trials of the new multiplication check.

The five-minute test, taken by children in Year 4, will then be fully rolled out over the next two years.

Ministers say the test will identify those struggling, but teaching unions have raised concerns about its benefits.

Supporters have argued that it will help to ensure all children know their tables up to 12 off by heart, but opponents say primary school children are already heavily tested.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said it was “hugely disappointing” that the Department for Education was still determined to bring in a multiplication tables test.

“This test won’t tell teachers and parents anything they don’t already know about their children. Although school results won’t be published, this government test will be scrutinised by Ofsted when they visit and will therefore become even more significant.

“A pupil’s primary school years are already cluttered with tests and checks. We want all children to succeed at school, but the answer isn’t to test them more.”

Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy, said: “While the introduction of this test is underpinned by good intentions, we need to be careful not to knock the joy out of children’s early mathematical experiences or distract schools from building children’s real understanding of numbers.

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“Knowing your tables is valuable – we all use them in everyday life – but what is more important is having a real feel for numbers and understanding the patterns behind times tables so children can use the knowledge flexibly in the real world.

“The danger in putting so much emphasis on tables testing – effectively on rote learning – is that it becomes a box-ticking exercise, and hinders the development of practical number sense”

But the DfE said the test would last a maximum of five minutes and would allow teachers to monitor a child’s progress.

Schools can take part in the multiplication check voluntarily in June 2019 and it will be compulsory from 2020.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “Just as the phonics screening check helps children who are learning to read, the multiplication tables check will help teachers identify those pupils who require extra support.

“This will ensure that all pupils leave primary school knowing their times tables off by heart and able to start secondary school with a secure grasp of the fundamental mathematics they need to fulfil their potential.”

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Bill Gates announces UK teacher in global top 10

February 14, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Andria ZafirakouImage copyright
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A teacher from north London, named as a top-10 finalist in a global teaching award, has warned of the poor living conditions of her pupils.

Andria Zafirakou says some pupils at her Brent secondary school have to do their homework in the bathroom, because their housing is so overcrowded.

The nominations were announced by technology billionaire Bill Gates.

Education is the “master switch” for progress in society and individual lives, said Mr Gates.

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist revealed the top 10 teachers in the Global Teacher Prize organised by the Varkey Foundation, with the winner to receive $1m (£720,000).

‘Playing truant to cook’

These included Mrs Zafirakou, an art and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School in north London.

She has been nominated for her work with deprived pupils, working with their families at home as well as in the classroom.

Image caption

Andria Zafirakou with pupils from Alperton Community School, Brent

“By getting pupils to open up about their home lives, I discovered that many of my students come from crowded homes where multiple families share a single property,” said Mrs Zafirakou.

“In fact it’s often so crowded and noisy I’ve had students tell me they have to do their homework in the bathroom, just to grab a few moments alone so they can concentrate.

“I also found that some were being forced to play truant to cook meals in the allocated time slot they were permitted to use their shared home kitchen.

“Others could not participate in extra-curricular activities after school because they had to take on parental responsibilities like collecting their brothers and sisters from other schools,” said Mrs Zafirakou.

Raising status of teaching

In response, she organised extra lessons during the day and the weekend, including giving pupils a quiet place to work.

She had learned basic phrases in the 35 languages spoken by pupils at the school and helped teachers work with other services, such as local police and mental health specialists.

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Image caption

Bill Gates said that education provided the “master switch” for progress in society

The finalists have been drawn from more than 30,000 nominations in 173 countries, with the top 10 coming from schools in countries including Brazil, Australia, Colombia and South Africa, as well as the UK’s representative.

The competition is intended to raise the status of the teaching profession and Bill Gates pointed to the importance of their work.

“When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch – one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies.

“And research has shown that having a great teacher can be the most important factor that determines whether students get a great education,” said Mr Gates.

Sunny Varkey, whose foundation set up the annual international teacher prize, said he wanted the finalists’ stories to “inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession” and to “shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do”.

The other nine finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2018 are:

  • Nurten Akkuş a pre-school teacher and principal, Samsun, Turkey
  • Marjorie Brown, history teacher, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Luis Gutierrez, social science teacher, Bogota, Colombia
  • Jesus Insilada, English teacher, Iloilo, Philippines
  • Glenn Lee, engineering and technology teacher, Hawaii, United States
  • Diego Mahfouz Faria Lima, school director, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Koen Timmers, lecturer and computer science teacher, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
  • Eddie Woo, maths teacher, Sydney, Australia
  • Barbara Anna Zielonka, English teacher, Nannestad, Norway.

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Saying ‘no’ and date-rape

February 13, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Christina and baby

Image caption

Christina with her baby

“Some of the things I did as a teenager, I think, ‘What the hell were you doing? Why did you do that? Why did you let this person take advantage of you?’”

Christina fell pregnant when she was just 14. Reflecting on her teenage experiences, she says she wishes she had been more confident about saying “No.”

For her, a revised sex and relationships education (SRE) curriculum currently being drawn up for schools in England must focus on the emotional.

“I think that the curriculum needs to emphasise the love and relationship side rather than the physical side, because everyone knows where babies come from.

“It’s about young people being emotionally stable and confident enough to say, ‘No.’”

Commenting on the BBC’s Family and Education Facebook page, a group of mothers – who had their first child when they were teenagers – say youngsters need to learn about issues such as:

  • consent
  • coercion
  • grooming
  • abusive relationships
  • sharing intimate photos and videos
  • the pressures of social media
  • the risk of having their drinks spiked with date-rape drugs

Their thoughts come as an eight-week call to evidence from the Department for Education, where members of the public can send in their views to policymakers, draws to a close.

‘Left feeling used and dirty’

Christina says getting involved in early sexual experiences can often be about underlying mental health issues such as low self-esteem.

“If someone’s missing something in their life or they’ve had a trauma or a loss and they’re desperately seeking to fill the void, they might search to fill that void in the means of a sexual relationship with somebody.

“And I think possibly, on reflection, maybe that’s what I did – I was looking to fill the void of being adopted and not knowing my biological family.

“So I decided to embark on these relationships hoping that they’d be meaningful – they were meaningful to me, but they weren’t meaningful to the people that I was involved with.

“And that damages you even more in the long run because you’re left feeling used and dirty.”

  • Girls go along with sex acts, says teacher
  • ‘I didn’t say no, but I regret that’

Christina says the sense of feeling used can have a lasting psychological effect.

“There’s probably loads of teenagers out there who’ve lost their virginity to someone they really like and care about and then they dump them the next day and they’re left damaged emotionally – and that stays with them, that will impact the next relationship they have and lead into adult life.

“I’m now a single mum and maybe it’s because of the bad experiences, relationships I had as a teenager because I didn’t learn first and foremost about the love and respect and to say, ‘No’.

“Because if the person really loves you and you say, ‘No,’ then they’ll accept it and wait. Whereas in the relationships I was in, I was always in a position where I felt, ‘I’ve got to say, ‘Yes,’ otherwise I’m going to lose them and they won’t want me anymore.’

“And I think that’s what a lot of girls feel as well.”

Date-rape drugs

Bethany, 22, who was 17 when she gave birth to her daughter, says the issues young people face were just beginning to change when she was growing up, as people started to get smartphones.

“I noticed a real change in the peer pressure that started happening and just how children didn’t understand the pressure.

“There are these new things that have come up that we need to focus on – there’s definitely pressure by peers and social media and this whole thing of photos and videos and revenge porn and the effects of sending this and using it against someone as well.

“Date-rape drugs, and the amount of people using [them] nowadays is just so high – we really need to talk about it and say why people use [them] and why it’s not OK, the effect it has on the victim.

“And also domestic abuse and how you can educate children about sex and how to not be abusive in a sexual way.”

Image caption

Bethany with her daughter

Bethany agrees with Christina that lessons in schools should focus less on the biology and more on issues of personal boundaries.

“There’s so much pressure and we need to be teaching children that it’s not OK to put pressure on people to have sex and that it’s OK to leave a situation when you’re feeling pressure.

“Understanding that concept that a ‘No,’ is a ‘No,’ and that it’s not OK to kind of fear someone into doing something, even if you’re not physically touching them but the mental threat has been put there – that is still taking advantage.

“I allowed myself to be put in positions where I was vulnerable.”

‘Once you’ve given yourself, you can’t take it back’

Bethany says she’ll be telling her daughter to be confident and to stand up for herself.

“I’ll be teaching her that nothing ever needs to happen unless it’s safe or feeling safe.

“You need to feel safe in yourself and safe with who you’re with and that at any point you feel unsafe, you need to get out of that situation.”

Christina says that while schools do cover sex education, it’s down to parents to “sit down and talk properly and openly with their children”.

“I made sure that I informed my daughter myself, as her mother, so whatever the school did was just a reinforcement of what I had told her myself.

“What I used to say to my daughter was, ‘Be careful who you give yourself to because once you’ve given yourself, you can’t take it back.’”

The Department for Education’s call to evidence on a revised sex and relationships education guidance ends on Monday, 12 February.

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Childcare: Do UK parents pay the most in the world?

February 13, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Joeli Brearley saying: We have the most expensive childcare system in the world.

The claim: The cost of childcare in the UK is the highest in the world.

Reality Check verdict: Yes, according to the OECD, but only when the cost of childcare is applied to a specific demographic – in this case, a relatively well-off couple.

The claim that the UK has the highest childcare costs in the world was made by campaigner Joeli Brearley.

Ms Brearley was referencing a study carried out by an international economic body, the OECD, which provides a snapshot of childcare costs among its 35 members.

One important thing to note is that even though the OECD refers to the United Kingdom, its study only looks at childcare costs in England.

That’s because the other nations have different childcare policies and the OECD has not produced separate findings for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

That aside, what does the data reveal?

The graph shows what it would cost to send two children (aged two and three) to a “typical” childcare centre (or nursery) for at least 40 hours each week.

It assumes both parents are in full-time employment, where one parent earns an average wage and the second parent earns 67% of average earnings.

The study also takes into account any financial support provided by governments, such as child benefit, to help towards childcare costs.

On this measure, the UK (England) is clearly way out in front with the net cost of childcare working out at 55% of average earnings.

This is 15 percentage points higher than New Zealand, the next most expensive country.

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But before drawing any firm conclusions, there are some important points to consider.

Firstly, the data needs to be understood in the context of who is affected.

In this example – which the claim is based on – we’re looking at a relatively well-off couple.

Parents on lower incomes in England may be eligible for additional support, which will reduce their childcare costs.

Mike Brewer, an economics professor from the University of Essex, says that the childcare element of the working tax credit (which is being replaced by universal credit) is heavily means-tested and “very generous to low-paid families” relative to other countries.

Under the childcare element of universal credit, parents in the UK can receive up to 85% of childcare costs.

So with that in mind, what happens if the same analysis is carried out but this time it’s applied to a single parent earning half the average wage?

When taking this particular snapshot, England falls from being the most expensive OECD country for childcare down to eighth.

As Prof Brewer observes: “The results in England depend heavily on what sort of family you have in mind, especially when it comes to their earnings, given that we means-test some support.”

There are some other important caveats to consider.

For one, the study only looks at nursery as a childcare option and not other forms, like childminders or nannies.

In the UK, nurseries tend to be viewed as a premium product and more expensive than childminders.

Furthermore, the data was compiled back in 2015 and doesn’t reflect recent changes in childcare costs or new government policy.

Since September, most working parents in England have been entitled to receive 30 hours of free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds.

The Department for Education says that 202,783 children in England benefited from the policy and that families could save £5,000 per year on childcare costs.

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Dorset schoolgirl ‘lost confidence after fat letter’

February 12, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

A schoolgirl says she lost her confidence and passion for sport after receiving a so-called “fat letter”.

Daisy, 11, from Christchurch in Dorset, received a Public Health England letter saying she was overweight after being weighed at school.

Children are measured and weighed for their body mass index (BMI) in Reception class and in Year 6, under the government’s National Child Measurement Programme.

Daisy’s mother Gill says she was not aware her daughter would be weighed but did not want to keep the results a secret from her.

Video Journalist: Emily Ford

You can see this story in full on BBC Inside Out South at 19:30 GMT on Monday 12 February on BBC One, or via iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

For more information and support about healthy eating click here.

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Transgender child: ‘I think I’m a girl in a boy’s body’

February 12, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

A 13-year-old child has spoken about the time she told her family she felt she was “a girl but in a boy’s body”.

Keira Puddefoot, 13, who is transgender, was previously known as Lucas.

Her mother, Emma, said she was supporting Keira for a “happy, healthy future”.

You can see this story in full on Inside Out East at 19:30 GMT on Monday, 12 February, on BBC One. Also available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

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Is social media causing childhood depression?

February 12, 2018 Posted by Josef Shomperlen

Laptop with a wolf coming out of screen

Rangan Chatterjee is a GP and says he has seen plenty of evidence of the link between mental ill-health in youngsters and their use of social media.

One 16 year-old boy was referred to him after he self-harmed and ended up in AE.

“The first thought was to put him on anti-depressants but I chatted to him and it sounded like his use of social media was having a negative impact on his health.”

So Dr Chatterjee suggested a simple solution – the teenager should attempt to wean himself off social media, restricting himself to just an hour before he went to bed. Over the course of a few weeks, he should extend this to two hours at night and two in the morning.

“He reported a significant improvement in his wellbeing and, after six months, I had a letter from his mother saying he was happier at school and integrated into the local community.”

That and similar cases have led him to question the role social media plays in the lives of young people.

“Social media is having a negative impact on mental health,” he said. “I do think it is a big problem and that we need some rules. How do we educate society to use technology so it helps us rather than harms us?”